Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to his counterparts in 12 states, asking them to support him in opposing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admissions to undergraduate medical degree courses.
On Monday, Stalin posted a tweet with the letter sent to the chief ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and Goa. The letter was written on Friday.
The Tamil Nadu chief minister’s letter said that the Centre’s decision to introduce NEET went against the spirit of federalism.
“It violates the constitutional balance of power by curbing the rights of the state governments to decide on the method of admission in the medical institutions founded, established and run by them,” Stalin wrote.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly had in September passed a Bill to scrap NEET, and instead, admit students to medical courses based on the marks they scored in Class 12 board examinations.
Admissions in Tamil Nadu were based on these marks itself before the Centre in 2017 made NEET compulsory for students across all states and education boards.
Abolishing the exam was one of the promises that Stalin’s party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam made ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu in April.
NEET was prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education and based on its own syllabus, which was very different from the Tamil Nadu board’s syllabus. Tamil Nadu has argued that a common entrance test would harm the prospects of state board students.
In his letter to the other chief ministers, Stalin said that states needed to assert their constitutional rights in deciding the method of admission to their higher educational institutions.
Stalin also forwarded to his counterparts a copy of the report prepared by retired Madras High Court Judge AK Rajan-led committee.
The Tamil Nadu government had set up the committee in June to study the impact of NEET on aspirants from socially disadvantaged sections of the society. The committee had found that NEET favoured affluent students.
Stalin urged his counterparts to read the report. He said that students from marginalised sections of the society should not face difficulties in securing admissions to higher educational institutions.
“We need to put up a united effort to restore the primacy of state governments in administering the education sector, as envisaged in our Constitution,” he added. “I look forward to your cooperation in this crucial issue.”